I was going through my dream journal and decided to share my first ever dream, which happened three years ago, when I began therapy for the second time. The dream was very short, but massively vivid and powerful; The dream took place after therapy one night.
I suddenly found myself in the bath with my analyst. At first, we smiled at each other in a surprised and innocent way. Straight after this exchange my analyst reached down below and started to touch me under the water. I refused the advances and my analyst began to paddy, thumping his hands and feet ferociously on the floor like a child. It was extremely disturbing and vivid and I remember thinking that I was more mature than him.
I knew from having therapy before that the dream had to be ‘aired and shared’ and I found myself laughing as I recounted the dream during our next session. We talked about the dream for most of the session and together we unpacked some possible meanings and realisations.
We discussed the meaning of the bath itself, which may be interpreted as a place where one literally washed oneself clean internally, shedding old ideas, opinions and negative patterns. We were in a tight place together where we could possibly remain stuck for some time. The initial smile we shared could be our true selves meeting for the first time. We discussed going to new places that are below the surface. Places we shouldn’t go. Down below; Should not be touched down there. Touching the darker shadow self would cause a huge paddy, huge resistance and the new beginnings of re-living a battle of previously held opinions and beliefs. Who knows more than who has been in control for so long. Of course ‘I’ am more mature.
I am fascinated in the relationship Jung and Freud had, from their closeness to their bitter separation. Concealed in their letters to each other there is an undertone of power and righteous ownership bathed in hermeneutics. I imagine a fight to the death and winners and losers. An evil cock fight wherein the bloody struggle is fought in the basement, while up on the roof and out in the open, theories fly proud like flags. Everything seemed to be at stake, as each man’s questioning of the others views called into doubt the others explanation of his whole life.
I notice this juxtaposition or power struggle with my analyst, when theory is thrown at each other, or should I say, when I throw theory back at him. I have found that I tend do this after an episode where my true self has opened up. I may have cried and felt hopeless and vulnerable during a previous session. When I have shown him my underbelly I feel like the powerless underdog, who is unbalanced, so I try to regain control through theory and debate. I wonder who taught me to compete this way and why I feel the need to compete and to win and what indeed was the prize? For whom is the battle being rein-acted for.
For me, I have made most of my important gains, and losses, where no theory exists. When our relationship is paramount and we share special moments, thats when the sparks fly. Rare and heartfelt admissions, on my analysts behalf, seem to rebalance our relationship and enable tenderness. It allows me a sense that we are together on this journey, and that it’s our journey, not just my own personal gravel path. In fact when my own analyst qualified, his analyst said to him; now forget all you have been taught and throw all theory out of the window. Perhaps he is my Grandfather.
Three years ago I entered therapy again for the second time. I arrived wearing a smart jacket, and I was ready to do business. I had 5 years of therapy in my twenties so I was there for some CBT. Six sessions or so and this anxiety would vanish, there was no need to dig deeper, I had done that before. Resistance ran high when my therapist stated he did not practice CBT. I pressed, and asked for two sessions a week, like I had last time. I could do this for a while and then I would be sorted. My therapist cleverly recommended that we should start with one session and I reluctantly agreed.
I can see now that from the very start I was trying to control a situation where I had no control. My first and only child had been born prematurely, who I desperately wanted to see, and I was in a sweat. The dark clouds were circling once again, a storm was brewing up. I did not know who I was or what I stood for. Was this a breakdown? I would sit rocking and shaking one minute and be telling jokes and cracking people up the next. I now refer to this time as my nervous breakthrough. I had come apart. Without realising it my dark self had totally overshadowed my true nature and I was split right down the middle.
A long time after this first session my therapist told me that when he first saw me he thought that I looked like a boy in his fathers clothes, they were too big for me. He thought, this is a boy who needs a father! When I told him about my new born son, he thought, well if this boy does not have a father, how can he look after his own, and there goes the panic. He said he usually finds that on his first meeting with people his instincts usually hold a key. Timing was crucial as I think if he had told me his instincts from the start I would have ran a mile.